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  Tempest in a teapot
Posted by: evanfardreamer - 1 hour ago - Forum: Stories - No Replies

The brown wrapped parcel in my hands seems seems surprisingly battered, given its postmark was from Galar. The heavy paper was worn and mildly stained from the hands it had passed through, though tape residue suggested it’d been inside another layer of wrapping at one point.
 
I closed the door and went to my kitchen table. I tried to keep food areas clean, but I still had to brush a few crumbs away before I set it down to examine it.
 
Attached to the front of the package was a smaller envelope the size of a card and bore my name and address, with a small line "Open me first".
 
I did so, and found a postcard of the Lumiose tower. On the back was a short, handwritten note.
 
"I hope this note finds you well, though we have never met and likely never will. I was entrusted with a notebook by an old friend who said if he did not call me in a week to send this to you, specifically, in a roundabout fashion. It seems to be his notes on a recent case. In any event, good luck, and I hope he's okay. While a strange man he has done more good than I know."
 
It's unsigned, and nothing further is written on it. Case notes? Roundabout? And why me, specifically? The only way to answer those would hopefully be inside the mystery package.
 
I opened the wrapping with my pocketknife and drew out a blue three-ring binder stuffed full with papers, photos, news clippings and other detritus. Emblazoned on the front in gold was the logo of the International Police and a notice that it was official property.
 
It had been sent to me, so I must be an ‘authorized person’ and felt better about opening it. There was a manila envelope of loose papers, ship’s ticket stubs, and receipts, but I set that aside to look at the pages in the binder rings. The first page seemed to be organizational notes, with record numbers and date spans. The only handwritten piece was in the lower right corner, under ‘detective name’ – it simply had the word Looker. Why did that name seem familiar?
 
Turning to the second page, a piece of notepaper fluttered out of the binder. This looked to be hastily written, torn out of a spiral notebook with a small stain of what looked like coffee. I smoothed it out on the table and read the block handwriting.
 
“Evan – You may not remember me, but it is I, Looker, of the International Police. I met you when we looked into the events of a certain Rocket team and its, shall we say, executives. You impressed me as a capable Trainer with a good heart. I am sorry to be sending this to you suddenly, but my normal contacts cannot help with this problem. But alas! I cannot tell you all that I know, as others may read this note instead. This binder is all public knowledge, and I must ask for your help – no I beg it! To unravel this mystery and save many people, one of whom might be me. Thank you!”
 
I stared at the page another minute without moving. I remembered Looker, all right – after my battle with Davis at the Team Rocket headquarters, he and a squad of those police had secured the building and arrested the remaining thugs. I felt a surge of old shame remembering how I’d helped the organization without knowing what we really were doing, though the pieces had been in front of my face the whole time.
 
I shook off the unpleasant reverie. If a special agent of the International Police needed help, it must be something desperate indeed. I owed him a favor to boot; he could easily have arrested me with the others, but something stayed his cuffs that day.
 
Turning to the next page, I saw a picture of a large cruise ship. It was above an article that described the christening of the S. S. Target, named after a wealthy industrialist who had bought into the cruise line after the war. The article seemed pretty normal, but one section was underlined. “Joining Captain Horace for the inaugural voyage and beyond is Steven Target’s nephew Albert as the head steward.”
 
I kept flipping through pages. Most were more articles about the ship and its visits to nations around the globe and tours to exotic locales. None of the ones I passed had any more underlining. About two thirds of the way through, the tone of the articles changed.
 
These ones called out the renewed troubles of the cruise lines. After what looked like two decades of smooth sailing, the news clippings were making mention of financial difficulties. Cancelled bookings, bad reviews, maintenance shortfalls, illnesses, and more seemed to plague the company, and this ship especially.
 
Finally another article dated three years ago had an underlined section. “The board of trustees voted unanimously to remove the head steward Albert Target, claiming neglect and dereliction of duty. However, he has not been seen in days and the liner refuses to comment on his seeming disappearance. In the meantime, Sadie Mitchell has been appointed in his stead.”
 
From here on, the articles were interspersed. After a clipping of the ship making landfall, other clippings from the same times were included that made mention of mysterious disappearances. None of them made mention of the ship, but they seemed to follow a pattern. The first would be the day after the ship docked, then two or three more in the next few days, before a final disappearance on the sixth day – when the ship was leaving port.
 
Over and over this pattern seemed to repeat, everywhere from the Unova docks to the Sinnoh coast. Pictures of the missing were included in some articles. The only commonality seemed to be the week of their disappearance.
 
I reached the last page in the binder. Taped to it was a pamphlet of the ship’s impending arrival at a port to the south of Hoenn, dated two weeks ago. The timeframe was right for Looker’s message, I noted.
 
The last piece was a printed sheet of paper tucked into the binder’s back pocket. It seemed to be a schedule of dockings and destinations for the ship over the past year. I slid it out and skimmed down the list. Nearing the bottom, my blood ran cold as I spotted something.
 
The next landfall after Looker’s pamphlet was in Johto. It would be making a stop here at Goldenrod City- tomorrow!
 
I stood up from the table in a hurry, knocking my chair over backwards. “No!” I shouted aloud.
 
The last paper seemed to flutter ominously as it settled back onto the binder. I knew all my windows were closed, and the air fan was silent. That left only one source of wind in my apartment.
 
“Aran, please don’t try and scare me right now. I’ve got enough fright from this package.”
 
My friend the Gengar phased slowly into visibility on the other side of the table. He was shorter than I, with a rotund purple body that was slightly translucent. His arms hung down at his sides, and his enormous yellow eyes stared right at me.
 
“The shouting gave that away,” he said with an unsettling grin. “But I wasn’t going to, this time. I simply wanted to know what had provoked you to that reaction.”
 
I shook my head. “I’m not sure myself. I don’t think you met the agent who arrested the Rockets after my showdown wrecked their office. The guy who had been in charge sent me a case file, and it sounds like he wants me to solve the mystery ship that may have vanished him.”
 
Aran seemed to ponder that. “Did you apply to become a detective?” he asked.
 
“No, and I haven’t heard from him since then, until this package came from some other stranger.” I rubbed my face and brushed my blonde hair out of my eyes. “I’m not sure which worries me more, that he’s kept track of me for years or that he thinks I can solve a mystery he couldn’t.”
 
The Ghost-type Pokemon meandered through the table, resting his surprisingly warm and insubstantial hand against my arm. “Evan, you sell yourself short. What they tried to do for years to Team Rocket, you accomplished in a few days. Destroying their stronghold and scattering their thugs, without losing any evidence they needed.”
 
I smiled, but it was a bittersweet one. “That wasn’t my plan at the time. I just wanted to stop Davis before he hurt anyone else.“
 
“Regardless, you are a better person than you give yourself credit for. Though I can’t say how good a detective you are, I suppose that remains to be seen.” Aran gave an enormous wink before turning to float back towards the library. “Let me know if you need assistance. Or if you decide to take a sudden cruise.”
 
I stared at the retreating form as it phased through the wall. My mind had already started toying with the puzzle in front of me. I tried to rein it in though. Aran’s reassurance aside, how could a mediocre trainer with a checkered past hope to succeed where a premier agent of the International Police failed?
 
Catching sight of my reflection in the burnished steel of the refrigerator door, I realized the question was wrong. I had spent the years since my time in Team Rocket trying any way I could to change the world for the better, even if I could never make up for the harm I’d caused. If I didn’t try to help out this detective when he asked – how could I live with myself?
 
“I don’t think you could,” I told my reflection. He shrugged, sticking his hands in the pockets of his cargo shorts. The reflection was hazy, but the blue eyes met mine as I realized I was smiling.
 
“I guess it’s time for us to take a little vacation, then.”
 
With a quick call to the cruise line, they confirmed tickets were still available for its next leg over to Vermillion City in Kanto. My dwindling winnings from the last regional tournament would cover the cost of the trip but not much more, so I had to hope I could either find a city tournament there or maybe visit the contest hall.
 
That assumed that I didn’t vanish aboard the ship, though. With that cheery thought to keep me company, I ate a light dinner before heading to bed. I only tossed and turned for an hour before falling into a dreamless sleep.
 
-----
 
Thankfully, packing for the trip was a simple affair. The price of the ticket included laundry service and meals, so I only needed a few changes of clothes and some extra potions and Pokeballs. I went heavy on khaki pants and earth tone shirts, then zipped my bag of toiletries into the suitcase.
 
I looked around my apartment as I was leaving, realizing for the first time how little I had done to make the place my own. A couple of movie posters, my Johto League certificate, and a picture of my parents back home in Violet City were the only things on the walls. The furniture had come with the lease and would stay when I moved out. The only difference when I eventually moved out would be a couple more boxes of clothes and jackets.
 
I didn’t want to think about the implications of that at the moment, but a few flashed through my head anyway as I locked up and headed for the docks. If I did vanish, how many people would notice? My parents, sure. The Rockets in jail who wouldn’t get their chance at revenge. Maybe a couple of the rangers at the National Park safari, but then again maybe not with all the people they saw in a week.
 
With effort I pushed those thoughts away. They wouldn’t help me on the ship, and I could worry about getting involved in life outside of Pokemon later.
 
The city was slowly waking up, stores and cafes just starting to open as I walked towards the sound of Wingulls and ship horns. I’d gotten used to living in a city by the sea, but that morning everything seemed fresh and novel. I’d never noticed the Zigzagoon pattern on a coffee shop awning where I’d been dozens of times. The toy store on the corner was painted in the colors of a Mr. Mime. And the fountainhead in the plaza before the Pokemon center was shaped like a small Team Aqua logo.
 
I was staring at the fountain when I heard an old man’s voice behind me. “Don’t do it,” he said.
 
“I hope you’re not trying to read my mind,” I said. “That would be rude.” I turned to face him and see what he was warning against.
 
Only he wasn’t there. Nobody was, in fact. The plaza was empty of people, though I could still see a few people walking the streets behind it. None of them were close enough to have been the voice I heard, and were all too young to boot.
 
I kept looking around me, though there was also no place near enough to hide. Had I imagined the voice?
 
I shook my head a few times to clear it. “It’s the nerves from this. It’s got you hearing voices and talking to yourself,” I said.
 
The empty plaza no longer felt like a place to relax. I turned again towards the docks and walked away quickly.
 
-----
 
The line at the ticket counter was short since it was still early morning. The basic travel package was a one-bunk cabin with its own shower, and I didn’t see a need to spend more of my dwindling funds on a larger room or bed. Hopefully Looker would pay me back for the ticket, if I found him.
 
After that it was a short walk to the pier where the majestic liner was docked. The ship was enormous, its hull stretching away above my head. Atop the main deck were at least six stories of cabins, and four gigantic steam towers rose above those. Twining lines of color swirled along the whole side in a band taller than me, and delicate blue tracery adorned the walls of the upper decks.
 
I made my way aboard via a wide gangplank, passing travelers and families disembarking. Some had the intent look of Pokemon trainers and were likely here to challenge Whitney’s gym while in town.
 
At the top of the ramp, several helpful stewards were bidding farewell to departures and gently steering arrivals towards their cabins. The tickets had included a deck map and featured amenities, so I had no trouble finding my berth to deposit the suitcase and backpack.
 
The room was a little cramped but smelled freshly cleaned. The walls were a bland shade of tan, and there was a small glass porthole that faced the city. I gazed out briefly at the city that he’d been living in. The radio tower was the largest landmark in his view, rising a dozen stories and festooned with antennas and dishes.
 
I couldn’t see it from here, but I knew a shorter building hunched in the tower’s shadow. It had once been the regional headquarters of Team Rocket and a place I’d called home.
 
That had been more than three years ago. I turned away from the window and pulled a Pokeball off my belt. “Alright, Aran, we’re aboard the ship now. Let’s make a plan.”
 
The Gengar materialized in a flash of red light. “By all means,” he replied. “What will we be looking for?”
 
“I’m not sure,” I said. “Looker had those notes on the old steward, so he must have thought they were important. Maybe we can start trying to find someone who knew him, if we can’t find anything obvious.”
 
Aran leaned back, large golden eyes glittering eerily. “I might be attuned to some things considered spooky, but I don’t have the skill to scan the entire ship for a murderer’s mind. That would be a tall order even for a strong Psychic type.”
 
I sat on the edge of the bed. “If the person doing the snatching is aboard, they’ve been very careful for all these years. It’s got to be someone on the staff, because I can’t imagine a stowaway going unnoticed that long.”
 
“So how do you intend to find what crew has been here that long?” Gengar asked. “Since you aren’t police, or a private investigator, they have no reason to answer such questions about their employees.”
 
I’d been avoiding that particular realization for a while. Looker’s notes were in my backpack, but most of them were old articles that wouldn’t help me out much, other than names.
 
Which gave me a thought. “If I’m acting like an undercover investigator, I might as well have a cover story. Perhaps an extended family member took a cruise a few years ago, and had such good things to say about all of the workers here. And I’m supposed to look for the names she gave me, to thank them.”
 
Gengar’s toothy grin widened even further. “Ah, an inspired idea. And given how many people move through these cruise ships, I doubt they would remember any particular person from that far back.”
 
I could take the names from Looker’s articles, and eliminate some by asking around with the stewards. I pulled out Looker’s notebook and a small journal of my own, skimming through and quickly jotting down a dozen names from the articles.
 
“We can at least figure out which of these are still here, and then ask them how many others from that time are still around.” I capped my pen and stowed the case file back in my pack. “I’d appreciate it if you lurked around near me, just in case.”
 
“Why, I believe that’s the first time you’ve been in favor of my lurking,” Gengar replied. He seemed to melt slowly, sinking toward the floor as he melded with the shadows in the cabin.
 
Aran could turn invisible, phase through walls, and float in midair. I hoped he’d be able to use those talents to help gather some information in places I couldn’t get to.
 
I closed my notebook and stood up off the bed. I took a few minutes to stash my extra clothes in the small dresser that came with the room.
 
“It’s too late,” the old man’s voice said from behind me.
 
I jerked around to look at the empty room. My pulse was racing and I had to remind myself to breathe. “Who are you?!” I asked in the sudden silence.
 
Aran’s lavender head peeked from under the bed. “Who are you talking to?” he asked me.
 
“I heard a voice, right behind me. I thought I heard it earlier today, too, on my way over.” There was nowhere save under the bed that anyone could hide, and Gengar would surely know if he was occupying the same space as someone else.
 
Aran turned his head to regard the rest of the room, his large golden eyes turning to a bright pinkish hue as he did so. After a moment, he spoke.
 
“Nobody is here, invisible or spectral,” he said. “If they were here at all, they are gone now.”
 
“The first time, I thought it was just me,” I said. “This time I’m sure of it. The voice sounded like an old man, and he said ‘It’s too late’.”
 
The Gengar withdrew himself back into the shadows. “I will try and be more vigilant. Do tell me again as soon as you hear it.”
 
Great, another mystery to unravel. Unless perhaps it was related to the one at hand. I shook my head, grabbed the notebook, and quickly left my seemingly empty cabin to begin the search.
 
-----
 
I headed first to the dining hall. Most of the dining tables were empty while the buffet line seemed smaller than the space allowed. Since the ship wasn’t leaving port for another couple days, I figured that most people would be heading into the city for fancy restaurants.
 
Still, the food looked fresh and delicious. I loaded a plate with some fruit, cheeses, and a few small pastries. I settled into a table by myself to eat.
 
Being alone didn’t last long. A short brunette woman with green eyes and a pug nose approached the table. She wore a turquoise blouse with jeans, and had a plate of food balanced on a couple notebooks.
 
“Hi, good morning!” she said with a sunny smile. “My name is Lydia, do you mind if I join you for breakfast?”
 
I motioned for her to sit while I finished chewing and swallowing a mouthful of flaky croissant. “Hi Lydia, nice to meet you. I’m Evan, you’re welcome to join me.”
 
“Thanks,” she said as she settled into the chair. Her food selection mirrored mine, with the addition of a small cup of yogurt. “I’ve been on this ship three weeks, it’s nice to see new faces at each stop.”
 
“I can imagine,” I said. “That’s quite a while to be on a cruise, are you out seeing the world?”
 
“After a fashion,” she said between bites of yogurt. “I’m actually a correspondent with the Sinnoh Register. I did an article on the ship, and now I’m doing a travelogue of the ports of call for a month. I have one more leg after the trip to Vermillion, back to Veilstone City in Sinnoh.”
 
That was certainly more of the world than I’d seen, having barely left Johto and only to make a few trips to Kanto gyms. “That’s a long time away from home.”
 
“I suppose,” she said. The yogurt finished, she started on the fruit. “I was born and raised in Sinnoh, but I don’t know if it’s ever felt like home. What about you?”
 
“I’ve been in Johto almost my whole life,” I said. “I grew up just south of Violet City. I’m a Pokemon trainer, though I haven’t gotten up to challenging the league yet. Just a few gyms, and some contests when I can.”
 
“Ooh, a Pokemon trainer,” she said with wide eyes. “We have a few of those ourselves, but most of them are too busy training to talk to people. What’s it like?”
 
“It’s a lot of fun,” I said. “I get to see new places without getting too far from home, and spend time with my best friends doing things we all enjoy. I make enough to pay the bills, and I don’t have expensive tastes.”
 
“Other than going on cruises?” she asked.
 
I took a large bite of an apple to give me a moment to respond. Whoops. I have to be more careful than that, especially with a reporter. “It’s my first one, actually. I thought it might be time to try something new, and I wanted to catch a few Kanto Pokemon.”
 
Lydia’s eyes seemed to sparkle for a moment, but she said nothing and kept eating her muffin. The silence stretched on for an awkward moment, and I felt compelled to break it.
 
“Well, actually my aunt helped suggest it,” I said. “She took a cruise on this ship a few years back and wont’ stop talking about how much fun it was. I found out it was coming here to Goldenrod, and since it was going to Vermillion I thought it was perfect. Bought the ticket this morning.”
 
She nodded. “Sure. You know, we don’t have a lie detector power, but we’ve got a lot of practice with people avoiding the truth. If you don’t want to say, that’s fine, I just wanted you to know that I knew.”
 
I felt my cheeks flush and grow warm. “I, uh, well…” I trailed off lamely. So much for a good cover story. “Okay. Someone I know asked me to look into this ship. They thought something odd was going on with it.”
 
“That’s more like it,” she said with another smile. She leaned forward, seemingly forgetting about her food. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t have much for guile, and I’m guessing you don’t do this often. Why isn’t the person looking into it themselves? Or going to the police?”
 
I sighed. “He is with the police, and he was looking into it himself. He apparently vanished while doing so. Along with the people he was trying to find. But I got the sense he was trying to keep it quiet for some reason.”
 
Lydia sat back in her chair, her eyes wide again. “If even the police couldn’t handle it, why would they turn to you?”
 
“I don’t know,” I said. The question had been bothering me too. “He sent a note with his case file, saying that I was a ‘capable trainer with a good heart’. What that has to do with discovering criminals, I couldn’t tell you.”
 
“Me either,” she said. “But I happen to know quite well, how to get to the bottom of things. And you certainly sound like you could use some help.”
 
Maybe there was a chance I could do this, after all. “I could, yes. I would really appreciate it. Will you help me?”
 
“Only if we can make a trade,” she said. “I still need to do my travelogue on Goldenrod. And you, being a resident here, have a good insight on the interesting parts of your town. Not just the tourist traps, but the fun places people don’t know about if they don’t live there. Help me get that written and I’ll help you figure out your mystery.”
 
 “It’s a deal,” I said with a sense of relief. “Thank you.”
 
“Thank me when we figure it out,” she said. Her sunny smile was back though, and she gathered up her notebooks and the last of her food. “Let me go get my camera and a few things. I’ll meet you at the gangplank in half an hour, okay?”
 
“Okay,” I said. I couldn’t help smiling a little in return. “I’ll see you there.”
 
She breezed away and I closed my eyes to take a deep breath. After I’d let it out, I opened my eyes and saw Aran sitting in her vacated chair.
 
“I need help, and she offered,” I said before he could speak.
 
“Oh I think it was quite sensible,” the Gengar replied. “She has a keen eye and mind, the skills for the job, and better still she’s an established presence on the ship.”
 
I frowned, and tried to figure out why his appearance had made me defensive. “I’m sorry. I’m just out of my depth here.”
 
Aran regarded me silently for a few moments. “Recognizing one’s limitations is a skill that must be honed. You are beginning to learn what things you do not know. Take things as they come, and try to keep an open mind.”
 
I stared down at the remains of my breakfast. “Yeah. I will. While I’m helping with her article, can you stay here and scout out the ship some more?”
 
The Gengar nodded. “I shall. If I may leave you with another piece of advice?”
 
“What’s that?” I asked.
 
“Eat. Sightsee. Be merry. For tomorrow, you may vanish.” With that, he faded to invisibility, his gleaming eyes the last thing that went.
 
-----
 
I met Lydia at the gangplank a few minutes early. She’d added a wide-brimmed white hat, a large teal purse, and a camera on a strap to her outfit.
 
“The one place I know about and want to see is the Sprout Tower,” she said. So we headed to the north end of town to get a good look at it.
 
The tower was very large, given its age. It was eight stories tall, made of wood and heavily ornamented. Every pair of floors had flaring wooden eaves, while pillars ran up the entire height to meet the sloping roof of dark tile.
 
Most impressively was its gentle swaying motion. The top was drifting gently from side to side, the motion flowing naturally in a gentle breeze. The looks were deceptive, since it was so high.
 
“On the top floor, it moves about eight feet at its widest. It’s not always even, though. It depends on who’s in it, what battles are happening, and how strong the wind is. Nothing like having your Pokemon leap towards the opponent, and overshoot because the floor twisted under you.”
 
“That’s incredible,” she said. She was busy snapping pictures as it sedately bobbed back and forth. “Can we go inside? I’ll bet the view from the top is fantastic.”
 
“I think so,” I said. I had battled enough in the tower to become friends with Kido, one of the tower’s caretakers. “Normally the tour ends at the fifth floor, but I’ve been here a lot. They know I’m always careful.”
 
Thankfully Kido was the one manning the stairs that day. I explained that Lydia was doing a feature on the city, and wanted to get some better photos of its skyline. He waved us through with an amused smile and we spent several minutes climbing rickety steps upward. It included plenty of lateral walking to get between staircases, which were spread out for more stability.
 
The waving of the tower was very pronounced on the top floor. Handrails ringed the outer wall, and Lydia clung gamely to them as she worked her way towards the windows facing the city. She was handling the motion pretty well – probably in part due to weeks on a ship. I followed her, keeping my knees loose to better shift when the floor did.
 
We reached the windows, and the view was even better than I remembered. Lydia fumbled with the camera strap using her free hand, finally raising it to her eye and pointing the lens towards the city. While she snapped her pictures, I tried to pick out the buildings I knew best.
 
The radio tower was still the tallest in the skyline, but there were others reaching skyward. The department store was a broad building that still reached up several stories. The curved dome of Whitney’s gym hunched amid a swarm of apartment buildings. I could see the top of the rail station, and peeking from behind the tableau were the cruise ship’s smokestacks.
 
Looking down, the fields around the tower were laid out, the paths among them forming a tracery of lines to various points among the grounds. I’d never taken the time to really look from here before, always focused on the battles that happened inside the tower.
 
“Ooh!” Lydia cried.
 
I looked up to see a flock of Pidgey and Pidgeotto rising from the forest surrounding the grounds. They swirled around between us and the city, before winging away to the east. She snapped quite a few photos as they flew, and I had to admit they made quite a striking image.
 
“This was great,” Lydia said. “I think I’m good on pictures now, though. Can we head back down before I get seasick?”
 
The motion of the floor had noticeably increased, and I nodded. Even I didn’t like being up here when the winds were strongest. We carefully made our way back down to the ground floor and bade farewell to brother Kido.
 
“So, where to next?” she asked.
 
“Well, how about the endless garden?” I asked.
 
She nodded with another smile, and we headed back to the city proper. The park was made in the remnants of a failed development project, where neighbors had cultivated a lush forest on a pair of small plots.
 
It was a riot of greenery and vibrant flowers. Berry trees served as anchor points, each with a bench or two under their boughs. Meandering paths led through thickets of bushes and stands of tall grains. Balconies overlooking the square were hung with clumps of crawling vines, making curtains and snarls to step around.
 
A wide variety of Pokemon climbed, fluttered, jumped, and crawled through the foliage. The local residents had an unofficial ban on capturing the Pokemon here, but were eager enough to chase off anything hostile. Between that, and the people who fed them, these creatures were some of the tamest I’d ever seen.
 
Lydia had her camera out the whole time, capturing quiet scenes of Nidoran drinking from small pools, or Butterfree sipping nectar from the gorgeous blossoms. At one point a young Pansage swung past on a vine, beating his tiny chest and yowling adorably, which drew a giggle from her and another flurry of photos.
 
I bought two sticks of candied Aspear chunks from an enterprising resident with a small stand set up, and we sat to eat them on a bench under the tree they’d come from.
 
“This is amazing,” Lydia said. “And nothing I’ve ever read about the city made any mention of it. This is exactly what I was looking for.”
 
“Glad to hear it,” I said. “I haven’t been here in a while, myself. I’d forgotten how vibrant it all was.”
 
“But it cannot be enough, and the cost is too high,” the old man’s voice came from behind me.
 
I twitched, and couldn’t help but turn and look. As expected, nobody was behind us – just the leafy branches and buds where berries were still growing.
 
“What’s wrong?” Lydia asked. “And don’t try lying. You went all white like you’d seen a ghost.”
 
I rubbed my face with both hands. “Maybe heard. Three times now, I’ve heard an old man’s voice from behind me saying spooky things.”
 
She turned to look too, but didn’t seem to see anything I hadn’t. “There’s nobody back there. Are you being followed? Or maybe haunted?”
 
“My friend Gengar didn’t see anything the last time it happened. I don’t know what it is, but it’s really creeping me out.” I handed the last few pieces of fruit to Lydia, who’d finished her own stick. I suddenly had no appetite for the sweet and sour treat.
 
Lydia was looking around in concern, now, rather than wonder. “I think I’ve gotten enough pictures of this place, now. We can go if you want.”
 
“Sure.” I stood up and we made our way to the nearest exit. After a couple turns down alleys, we arrived at the broader avenues of western Goldenrod.
 
I hadn’t been paying enough attention, and I realized too late that we were standing on the street outside the old Rocket headquarters. I could see the building from here, the dark stone façade contributing to the gloomy atmosphere around it. The sign out front showed it was still vacant.
 
 “Oh, is that the radio tower?” Lydia asked. Her attention had been drawn to the massive tower just beyond the building I couldn’t escape.
 
“Yeah, it is,” I said. We made our way into the lobby, with the reporter snapping another slew of pictures. By now it was midafternoon, and the foyer was nearly deserted – a few receptionists were seated at desks before the elevators, but the large empty space had been turned into an impromptu museum.
 
There were several tables with antique radio equipment, and a couple boards displaying early broadcast licenses or papers associated with famous radio personalities. Lydia took pictures of those, too, but didn’t seem as interested as the prior stops.
 
“These are in most of the normal brochures,” she admitted when I asked about it. “It’s still neat to see in person, though.”
 
I tried to think of other places to show her. Any of the cafes would be just places to eat, with a unique but perhaps not terribly interesting story. The magnet train would be just as publicized as the radio tower, as would the gym.
 
“I can think of one other place,” I said with hesitation. “We have a haunted cove, but it’s a rare manifestation, and it might not be anything at all tonight.”
 
“Well, I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with the water lately, but I’m willing to take a chance,” she said. “But if you’re really being chased by something, do you want to take a chance on a more haunted place?”
 
I chuckled. “It’s not really that haunted. There’s a small cove just north of the city where occasionally, some candles in paper boats just appear and float out to sea.”
 
“Sure, let’s go take a look,” Lydia said.
 
The road out of town was more crowded now, with plenty of pedestrians and bicyclists heading home from work or going to town for social events. We passed the small band of suburbs that ringed the city, where houses were larger and more spread out.
 
Finally the path took us to the shores. I found the place with no difficulty, even in the late day gloom. It was a natural cove that had been worn into the shore over centuries.
 
We sat on a rocky outcrop as the evening tide started to come in. A few playful Remoraid chased each other around in the water, while a Politoed on the far side climbed from the sea and croaked out its evening greeting. Dusk faded to twilight, though with the glow from the nearby city it didn’t get truly dark. Lydia held her camera on her lap, though only took a couple pictures.
 
It took about an hour before the moon rose, shifting from a swollen orange at the horizon to a beautiful silver orb. All the while, the waves lapped gently against the small beach below us.
 
“Well, that’s it,” I said, finally breaking the friendly silence. “Nobody has ever seen them after the moon rose, so it’s a bust.”
 
“Somehow, I don’t mind,” Lydia replied. Her eyes were luminous in the moonlight. “It’s still been a lovely day of seeing the city, and the local legends can be even more mysterious without photo proof.”
 
I stood up, brushing the dust off my pants. Lydia rose more slowly, gathering her hat and camera to stow in her purse. “Back to the ship then, and you can tell me what you know of this mystery I’m going to help you with.”
 
I deferred, and we made idle chatter as we returned to the cruise ship. I recommended a few restaurants in the city, but she preferred to visit those during the day. She talked about contest halls in Sinnoh, where she’d covered some events in her journeyman days. The format sounded interesting, but the multiple judge format seemed strange.
 
When we reached the ship we went to our respective cabins before rejoining at the dining hall. Even with restaurants in the city, it was busier than breakfast and more crowded. We hustled over to grab the last empty table, then took turns filling our plates from the buffet before sitting down next to each other.
 
I put the case file on the table, flipping through it to show her the relevant articles. She didn’t say much as we looked it over, but I could tell by her gaze that she was filing all of it away.
 
“So he thinks someone working on the ship is secretly a murderer,” she said. “They sneak out when it makes landfall, abscond with people, and then dispose of the body somewhere. Probably far out at sea during transit.”
 
I nodded as I chewed on my sandwich. “So far the best plan I had, was to pretend my aunt wanted me to say hello to the people she’d met on a trip several years ago.”
 
She glanced up at me with a frown. “No offense, but I’m not sure you’d have much luck selling even a believable story. And besides, I can save you the trouble, because there’s only a few people here that have been aboard for more than a year.”
 
I sat back, chewing and swallowing. “Really? I thought something like this, people who wanted to work here would stay as long as they could, especially if it’s a family owned business.”
 
Lydia shook her head. “It started that way, but in their financial troubles they brought on a crew of consultants to look over their practices. It led to a lot of firings, and shortly after a lot of resignations from people who feared for their own positions. From that far back, you’ve really only got a few people to look at.”
 
She ticked off on her fingers as she went. “First, the captain. He’s mostly a figurehead, but has been in place for a decade, and the vanishings seem more recent than that. Second, the chief engineer. He’s about three months from retirement, and I’d be surprised if he had the strength left to make people disappear. And finally,” she continued, “you have the chief steward. The one serving now is the same as the one who replaced Albert Target. I’ve met him too, and while he’s a bit distant, I didn’t get any bad vibes off of him.”
 
I took a couple bites of my salad, chewing over the news and the leafy greens alike. I swallowed and spoke. “Where do you think we should start digging, then?”
 
Aran chose that moment to materialize across the table from us. “Perhaps with the haunted hallway,” he said.
 
Lydia startled, jerking back from the table. I’d gotten used to Aran’s dramatic arrivals, but she certainly hadn’t expected that.
 
“What haunted hallway?” I asked him as she gathered her composure. “Is there some kind of ghost aboard?”
 
“Other than myself, yes, there’s at least one more present,” the Gengar replied. “It’s smart, powerful, and capable of incredible subtlety. I didn’t realize until I tried to follow a deck map, that there was a corner of this ship I’d avoided without realizing it was a compulsion.”
 
“So there was some force that pushed even you away from it?” I wiped my mouth with the napkin, leaning back from the table. “Would it work on humans too?”
 
“I suspect so. It’s an intricate weaving that is layered around the hall, through the roof and floor as well. If you were trying to go there, it probably wouldn’t work, or do more than make you anxious to leave. But if you were just wandering it could sway you from ever going down that particular hall.”
 
“What’s in that hall?” Lydia asked.
 
Aran turned to her. “Some of the nicer cabins, most of which are empty, as far as I can tell.”
 
I took out my deck map, and the Gengar indicated the section of the upper decks. “That’s a section reserved for the upper staff,” Lydia said. “The chief stewards’ room would be around there.”
 
“Well, that sounds like a great place to go check after dessert,” I said. They’d just wheeled out a cart covered in delicate pastries and fancy ice cream confections.
 
“None for me, thanks,” Lydia said. “The food here is good, but their desserts are just too sweet for my tastes.”
 
I took a bowl of ice cream and a marbled brownie, polishing both off while Lydia finished her dinner. Aran faded back to invisibility, but the occasional brush of wind in the room reassured me he was still around.
 
A server cleared our plates as I sat back to enjoy the feeling of a full stomach. I could get used to this.
 
“Well, here we are after dessert,” Lydia said. “Shall we go and see what mystery this hallway holds?”
 
“Won’t there be staff up there?” I asked, trying to ignore the sudden flutter in my guts. “It won’t do us much good to get caught in places we aren’t supposed to be.”
 
“No, it’ll be fine,” she said. “The staff still runs their nightly events, so most of them will be busy with either the arcade, the dance, or serving at the pool.”
 
I sighed. Another excuse gone. “Yeah,” I said with reluctance. “Let’s go see this hallway that even my Gengar was spooked by.”
 
“It comes too soon, and yet too late,” the old man’s voice said behind me.
 
“Aran!” I said in a loud whisper. “I heard him again!”
 
I felt the air around my legs grow cold, usually a sign my ghost friend was partway through my body. It passed after a moment, and then his disembodied voice spoke quietly from between myself and Lydia. “I see and sense nobody. There is maybe a faint echo of something, but it’s quite faint.”
 
Lydia was looking at me curiously. “What did he say?” she asked.
 
“That it was too soon and too late. It’s spooky, but it’s not making any sense to me,” I said.
 
“If it is a specter, remember we don’t always see the same world as you do,” Aran replied. “It might be seeing figments of the future, or the past, or a different present entirely.”
 
I sighed, and rubbed my face with my hands. The ice cream in my stomach no longer gave me a feeling of contentment. “Okay. Well, we’re not getting any closer by wondering about it. Let’s go see this hallway.”
 
We left the dining room, weaving through a crowd of guests that thinned as we ascended the stairs. Finally we stood alone on the penultimate floor. The possessed hallway was around a corner, but already I felt a vague sense of unease and remembered several things I’d wanted to do on the cruise ship.
 
“Beware, for you already feel its effects,” Aran said from the direction of my shadow.
 
Lydia paused halfway into a turn back the way we came, a frown coming over her face. “I guess that proves it affects people, too,” she said. With a clear effort of will, she turned herself back to face it.
 
The unease in my gut sharpened, turning to a flight of butterflies. If we knew it was here, came here to face it, and it still worked its way into our minds, how strong is this thing? I wondered.
 
It took an effort, but I lifted one foot and put it in front of the other. The next steps came a little easier, and we all moved cautiously forward. Around the corner, the lights seemed to be dimmer, and the corners where wall met floor had a noticeable amount of dust. Eight doors led off the hallway, which ended in a wall with a large porthole, showing the ocean side of the ship.
 
“Even the cleaning folks can’t get in here much,” Lydia whispered, gesturing at the floor.
 
There were faint footprints in the dust leading to the first door on the left. It was the only one with a name placard, proclaiming it the room of the chief steward Ton Corren.
 
“We’ll save that one for last,” I whispered. “I’ll start on the right.”
 
The first door was unlocked, and the room behind it had a thin layer of grime over every surface. The large, plush bed clearly hadn’t been slept in for a long time. The desk and chairs almost seemed a different shade of wood on the top and bottom. And the floor was thoroughly covered, with no telltale footprints.
 
The second room was in much the same shape. The third and fourth doors were locked, which Aran solved by materializing enough of his shadowy claws to adjust the tumblers in the lock. Disappointingly, or perhaps reassuringly, both also showed evidence of long neglect.
 
Reaching the wall, I continued down the other side. The first door again was unlocked, though the room behind it was different. It was much larger, with fancier drapes at the porthole and a different style of bedcovers.
 
The next door was also unlocked, and this one had been stripped of furnishings. It was still covered in the dust, but the bed lay bare and even the decorative paintings on the wall had been removed at some point in the past. There was no porthole in this one, and the light from the hall did little to illuminate the room, beyond showing it was empty.
 
I put my hand on the next knob, and realized I was back at the steward’s door. But that wasn’t right, was it?
 
“You said you were saving it for last, but we didn’t find anything else,” Lydia whispered.
 
“Yes,” I said. “But hang on. I only opened six doors.”
 
“You checked them all, except for the steward’s,” Lydia said. “What are you waiting for?”
 
“Aran,” I whispered. “How many doors are in this hallway?”
 
“Eight,” he muttered from somewhere near my ear. “I saw you open six. This makes seven. Somehow you missed one.”
 
“Which one did I miss?” I asked him.
 
The Gengar was silent a moment. “I feel… something working against us. It is almost as subtle as the weavings in the walls and floor.”
 
I turned around and walked back to the last doorknob. It opened easily, showing me the dark, empty room. I flicked the light switch, but the bulbs had either burned out or been removed, and it stayed dark.
 
Then I moved to the next doorknob. This showed me again the older, richer furnishings, and the light bulbs in here also failed to light when I hit the switch. Back in the hallway, I found myself at the end again.
 
I had a flash of an idea. I couldn’t even see the closed door – or perhaps it was more that I couldn’t notice it. It must be in between the two I had left open, but something was in the way of my senses.
 
I put out my hand at the same height as the doorknobs. I closed my eyes, and very slowly shuffled down the hallway. I felt the opening of the first door pass, then bumped gently against the wall, before finally feeling the cold metal bump my hand.
 
“What are you doing?” Lydia asked, staring near me but not quite at me.
 
“I found the doorknob I can’t see,” I told her. “I have my hand on it. Can you see me?”
 
She looked confused for a moment. “I can see where you are, but I can’t see you, somehow. What’s going on?”
 
“This must be part of the weaving,” I said. “Aran, are you still with me?”
 
In response I felt the chill in my leg. “I am within your shadow, and you carry me when you move. I am with you.”
 
I reached out my hand to Lydia. “Lydia, give me your hand. It can mess with our sight, but it seems I can still feel things.”
 
She stretched her arm out in my general direction, and I grabbed it with my free hand. Her fingers were cold, but her grip was strong.
 
Her eyes seemed to return to focus and find mine. “Thank you. Let’s see what’s behind door number three,” she said.
The knob wasn’t locked, but it still seemed resistant to being turned. With a grunt and a twist, I shoved against the door with my shoulder. A similar force seemed to be affecting the door, but after a couple hits I was able to shove it open.
 
The room beyond the door was dark and empty. Not just devoid of people or furniture, but somehow hollow, as if it were missing even the absence of things. There was no carpet, the walls were colorless, and the ceiling seemed to stretch away until it couldn’t be seen. I turned and looked behind me, but there was no hallway anymore; and only the feel of Lydia’s hand in mine convinced me I wasn’t alone, as I could no longer see her.
 
“But how can you see, without looking?” the old man’s voice said from deeper in the room.
 
So they were connected, I thought with a small surge of satisfaction. I slowly turned back to the room, giving Lydia’s hand a firm squeeze. After a brief moment, she returned the gesture, so I knew she was still okay.
 
Suddenly, what little light I thought there had been vanished. “It’s all in your head,” I whispered to myself. But against that dark void there was no reassurance, and my words echoed and jangled in the space around me.
 
I felt a lurch around my stomach as if I were floating, and then it dropped away as I felt like falling. But Lydia’s hand was still tightly clutching mine, without moving. Somehow whatever was controlling this could mess with any of my senses, save one.
 
“Aran,” I said. “Aran, can you hear me?”
 
The echoes again distorted and twisted around me, stretching into loud sounds and whispering laughter. But after a few seconds of eternity, I felt a cold tingle in my leg.
 
I smiled. “It can mess with my senses, but only in my head. It hides in the dark, but only to avoid being seen. And it makes you look where it isn’t, to better hide where it is.”
 
I tugged on Lydia’s arm, pulling her into a sudden hug. She felt warm in my arms, and after a moment returned the embrace. “Lydia, if you can hear me, sorry to be so forward. Aran, use a Dark Pulse!” I shouted.
 
The cold frission ran its way up my leg, along my back, and down my arms. Aran and I had only done this a couple times, but I felt his presence swell until I was enfolded in his gaseous body. And Lydia’s too, since she was in the same space, and should be safe from the move.
 
We still felt the pulse of energy, as it rushed from Gengar to the corners of the room. As it went, it peeled back the illusion of emptiness from our vision. The carpet underneath came first, then a pair of high-backed chairs, a plush bed, and a low table near the far wall.
 
On that low table was the remains of a tea set. The wave of energy rippled over it, and while it passed through the rest of the room, it tossed the ceramic cups askew.  The teapot likewise was knocked off the table, and into the lap of an old man sitting in a small armchair, who let out a gasp of surprise.
 
The rush of energy reached the walls, and began to roll up them like dark tongues of flame. One by one, people flickered into view that had been sitting or laying against the wall. I kept my focus on the man in the chair, releasing my arms from Lydia and facing him directly.
 
I saw her move towards the nearest people along the wall, but was too busy watching the old man. His clothes were fine, but showed their age with threadbare areas and faded colors. His hair had grown out wildly, wisps pointing every which way from his head and chin. I recognized the face, at least – this was Albert Target, the old head steward who had been the first disappearance.
 
The teacups seemed to lurch of their own accord, now. They righted themselves while spilling a few slops of a deep purple liquid onto the table. The small cups and saucers seemed to float off the table, turning to point the swirls of their enamel at me – almost like eyes.
 
“Stop them, Aran,” I said.
 
Gengar stepped forward in response, deflating down to his normal size and drawing purple shadows to his outstretched arms. The cups oriented on him and swept forward, but they made a mistake – they expected him to fight head-on.
 
But Aran had been a human, once. He combined decades of life experience as a person, with a few more of existence as a ghost, topped off with hard knocks learned from Pokemon battles. Before they reached his location, he had already vanished and reappeared behind them. With a swipe of his claws, he smacked one of them down to the carpet. When the momentum bounced it back up again, he slapped it into the wall, where it cracked and fell still.
 
The animate teacups had spun around by then, but he vanished again, this time appearing above the remaining trio. Pushing both arms into the hindmost, he bore it down to the ground, and with a grunt shattered it against the floor.
 
Rolling in place, he dodged a dark purple blast of energy from one of the remaining cups. With a flick of his arm, he sent a similar blast back at the other one, sending it flying back over the teapot trailing a tail of liquid.
 
The last cup and saucer had been readying something else. It’s blue porcelain eyes seemed to swirl as it stared at the Gengar. The tactic seemed to catch Aran off guard, and he froze for a moment – but then with a widening of his grin, began to twist his own eyes at the cup. For a few furious seconds, they bore down against each other.
 
And then it was over. The cup settled slowly to the ground, rattling a little in its saucer but the purple liquid holding completely still.
 
“It is done,” Aran said with obvious pride.
 
“Thank you,” I said. It felt completely inadequate for his efforts, but the old steward drew my focus. The man was clutching the teapot fiercely, alternating grimaces of pain and sorrow. He was covered in grime, with tracks from tears running down his face.
 
I stepped closer to him. “Albert? Can you hear me?”
 
The man opened one eye, then the other. They were covered with a gray film, but hints of blue peeked through. “Who…” He coughed a few times, then seemed to gain a little strength. “Who’s there?” he asked. The voice was unmistakably the one I’d been hearing, but weaker and hesitant.
 
“My name is Evan,” I said. “I’m a Pokemon trainer, looking for some missing people.”
 
The man’s sightless eyes widened further. “No,” he said, rocking back and forth. “No, please, you must stop him. He doesn’t know. Doesn’t know what he’s doing to them.”
 
“Who?” I asked. “Who’s doing it?”
 
“Winston,” he gasped. “I made a mistake, and he didn’t know, and you have to stop him.”
 
The teapot in his arms shook, then lurched free to land on the table with a clatter. A sloshing noise came from inside it, and a splash of the dark purple liquid pushed the lid ajar slightly. It peeked out, the tea leaves seeming to form eyes and a smiling mouth that regarded the rest of the room.
 
“Stop him,” the old man gasped more faintly. “Before he hurts… anyone else…”
 
As the man finished speaking, his skin took on a grayish pallor, and his breaths drew shallower. His breathing had been labored before, but now slowed down to a couple of wheezing gasps.
 
The teapot lifted its lid a little further, staring at us with flat eyes of dark green flakes. Without warning, it burst forth from the teapot, breaking the ceramic top as it surged towards me. I threw my arms out wide and stumbled backwards, but it was coming too fast.
 
Too fast for me, anyways. Aran had been ready for it to try something, and with a wave of his arms he hit the foe with a blast of spectral wind that splattered the liquid all over the roof. The puddle started pulling itself again, but the Gengar had already moved into another tactic.
 
Aran drew more of the wind into the cabin, flicking at the edges of the puddle as it congealed. He drew the gust into a circle, swirling the drips back up into the main mass, squeezing it into a smaller lump.
 
He drew the purple liquid away from the roof, keeping the ghostly wind spiraling around it and forming it into a sphere.
 
“It is sick,” Aran said as he kept the energies moving. “I cannot hold it forever. It will attack if we give it the chance, but it needs to be healed.”
 
“So does the old man,” I replied. “If you put it back in its pot, can you keep it contained in there until we get to the Pokemon center?”


“I believe so,” the Gengar replied. He changed his gestures, and the purple bubble floated gently back to the cracked pot. The circular winds shifted into a funnel shape, with the narrow end swirling down and into the body of the pot. In less than a minute, all the fluid had been returned to the teapot, and Aran replaced the cap, binding the whole thing with tendrils of dark purple energy.
 
“Aha, and so, you have saved me,” a familiar voice from behind me said.
 
I felt a smile blossom on my face. This time when I turned around, someone was there leaning against Lydia. He was a tall man with graying brown hair, sharp eyebrows and a tan trenchcoat over a dark suit.
 
“Agent Looker,” I said. “It’s good to see you alive.”
 
“Not all of us are,” he said grimly. Many of the forms against the wall were beyond emaciated, their skin shrunk against their bones. But a few people were sitting up or leaning heavily against the wall, shaken but alive. “As the spirit drained our essence into the old man, there is only so much to draw before he needed new victims. Thus, the disappearances at each port.”
 
Aran was carrying the teapot carefully, and Lydia had moved to the head steward. “He’s fading fast,” she said after checking his pulse. “He needs a doctor, I can’t tell what’s wrong with him.”
 
I hurried to her side, helping to lift him onto our shoulders.
 
“Go, get them help,” Looker said. Color was already returning to his face. “I will find the captain and explain to him what has happened.”
 
Lydia, Aran, and I drew plenty of stares as we hurried off the ship with our burdens, but nobody stopped us as we made our way to the hospital.
 
-----
 
It turned out the steward had tried to drink poison, in his shame at losing the job. The hospital was able to stabilize him and supply the antidote, but he would be bedridden for a long time, if he ever recovered. Three years of clinging to life was hard on anyone, especially the elderly.
 
The Pokemon center was able to heal the strange Pokemon – it turned out to be something called a Polteageist, which I’d never heard of. They separated the poison from it and spent some time treating the trauma of being involved, even unwittingly, in the poisoning.
 
Lydia finished her travelogue articles, and her Goldenrod story – along with the details of the haunting – secured her place at the paper. I traveled with her as far as Vermillion, but Johto was still my home. She still sends me copies of the papers she’s featured in, and we talk from time to time. One of these days I’ll get over to Sinnoh for a return visit.
 
But for now, I’m content to challenge the Pokemon gyms here. It turns out there’s plenty right here in my own hometown to keep me busy, after all.


  Spider Warning
Posted by: Gun6 - 2 hours ago - Forum: Art Gallery - No Replies

[Image: rEhWkIn.png]

Targeting the Easiest Spinarak for Capture. Can be a concise curation.

Time: 1 hour.


  Plum's Pokejobs
Posted by: Plum - 3 hours ago - Forum: PokéJobs - No Replies

Pokemon Claimed from PokeJobs:
Simple:
Medium:
Hard:
Complex:
Demanding:

https://forum.pokemonurpg.com/newreply.p...yto=135993:
Current Job: Liam's orchard, rank: Simple. type: grass
Pokemon being sent: Piplup
Progress:
Battles:
https://forum.pokemonurpg.com/showthread...#pid136203
Contests:
https://forum.pokemonurpg.com/showthread...#pid136119
Park:

Morphic:

Art:

Reffing:
Sapahn
Judging:
Sinnosheevee
Rangering:
Arbitration:
Curating:
None yet
Grading:


  Elrond's Timesheet
Posted by: Elrond - 4 hours ago - Forum: PokéJobs - Replies (1)

Pokemon Claimed from PokeJobs

- None -


  Florence and the Rain-Forest Treasure
Posted by: Gold - Yesterday, 10:00 AM - Forum: Stories - No Replies

Trying to catch Nickit please.
CC: 6,789
Concise grade please.


  Diglett for capture
Posted by: Plum - 03-28-20, 11:40 PM - Forum: Art Gallery - No Replies

[Image: diglett_2.png]


  i tried.
Posted by: bmkmb - 03-28-20, 05:25 PM - Forum: Art Gallery - No Replies

[Image: finalp.jpg]
"I tried... I tried to be the best... but all I ever was... was a shadow (in your past)."
Attempting to capture a Pidgey.


  POLL: Which Pokemon models do you prefer for the Ultradex?
Posted by: Elrond - 03-27-20, 04:10 PM - Forum: General - No Replies

Animated In-Game Models, No Outline: 

[Image: chewtle.gif][Image: drednaw.gif]

Animated In-Game Models w/ Outline:

[Image: chewtle.gif][Image: drednaw.gif]

Pokemon Home Models:

[Image: poke_capture_0833_000_mf_n_00000000_f_n.png][Image: poke_capture_0834_000_mf_n_00000000_f_n.png]


  In the Moonlight
Posted by: After - 03-26-20, 06:08 PM - Forum: The Spine - Replies (1)

Espero
Rogue - Zoroark - Illusion (inactive)
Weather: Nighttime, clear skies, pleasantly cool
Dark stone attunement: 3 / 15


-:-

It's a calm night. Stars twinkle high overhead, a full moon bathes the island in its pale glow, and a gentle breeze sets the trees to a soft rustle. Most of the island's residents are no doubt snoozing safely in their hideaways. Espero, on the other hand, is up and about, despite dearly wishing to sleep himself.

A strange energy has been growing within him ever since he found those stones beneath the mountains. Under the sun, it's mostly dormant, but beneath the moon, it courses through him with increased fervor, restless, itching to be released. Unfortunately, nighttime wanderings are the only way he's found to ease it... So here he is, walking, running, climbing, moving briskly up the low hills where the Skylark Jungle gives way to the Spine. It's not the gentlest trek, but that's fine; it's enough to keep his focus.

Only when he clears the tree line does he allow his pace to slow, coming to a gentle stop on a ledge overlooking one of the jungle valleys. It's an excellent view - and Espero would enjoy it far more if not for the infernal force prickling at his skin.

"Why won't you leave me be?" he growls, frustration mounting. Even with ample moonlight, straying too far from his den at this hour isn't a great idea, but this energy - or whatever it is - still isn't calming down like it should... All he can do for now is continue pacing helplessly, inching up the mountains, hoping for some measure of respite.


  Doduo Dance(Cash)
Posted by: Shock3600 - 03-25-20, 10:58 PM - Forum: Art Gallery - No Replies

[Image: Doduo_Dance.gif]
He dances. What more could you want. Cash please. And id prefer in depth but I also want money faster so I'm totally good with short followed by long :P